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Wyoming Department Of Health Suggests Changes To Redesign The State Funded Behavioral Health System

mental health written on white background. hand underlining in red
Jernej Furman
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Flickr CC BY 2.0

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, the Wyoming Department of Health presented a proposal to redesign the state-funded behavioral health system.

This past legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill to change who community health care providers can serve. Presenting the draft plan with stakeholders is part of that process.

Andi Summerville, the executive director of the Wyoming Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Center, said the report suggests some changes to the original bill that came out of working groups this summer.

"Importantly, for the families and children at high risk, it includes some ability for some additional referral sources to refer kids to receive treatment such as youth crisis centers, law enforcement," said Summerville. "Those types of agencies that do have a lot of interaction with kids and families."

Summerville said another important recommendation is to delay the implementation of the bill until July 2023. She said it's important to have enough time to get things right. But she still has concerns about residents potentially not being able to access community mental health services.

"We still want to really make sure that people are getting access at the earliest levels that they can to avoid those crisis situations or potentially Title 25. And we certainly still have concerns about that, this report doesn't necessarily offer any of that," said Summerville.

Residents and stakeholders can provide feedback on the current draft till early next week. The plan will then be submitted to the Labor Health Committee on Sept. 1.

In addition to reporting daily on the happenings in Northwest Wyoming, Kamila is also the producer of the Kids Ask WhY Podcast and the History Unloaded Podcast.Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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